Coca-Cola Cake

This cake is excerpted from American Cake, a beautiful new book by Nashvillian Anne Byrn, (aka The Cake Mix Doctor).
November 29, 2016

Ingredients

Cake
  • butter and flour for prepping the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) lightly salted butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coca-cola
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) lightly salted butter
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons Coca-cola
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (see Cake Note)

Instructions

CAKE NOTE: If you want the best flavor from the pecans, toast them first while the oven preheats, 4 to 5 minutes. It is your choice to fold the pecans into the icing, to omit them, or to scatter them on top of the cake once the cake has been frosted. 

Prep: 35 to 40 minutes 

Bake: 30 to 35 minutes

1. For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13" × 9" metal baking pan, and shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside. 

2.  Place the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside. 

3.  Place the butter, oil, cocoa, and Coca-Cola in a medium-size saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until the butter melts and the mixture just comes to a boil. Pour the cocoa mixture over the sugar and flour. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed, or with a wooden spoon, until just combined. Measure the buttermilk, and stir the baking soda into it to dissolve. Add to the batter along with the eggs and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until well combined, 1 minute. Fold in the marshmallows. Turn the batter into the pan, and place the pan in the oven.

 4.  Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. 

5.  While the cake cools, make the frosting. Place the butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola in a small saucepan over medium heat, and when the butter has melted and the mixture just comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Measure 3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl, and pour the hot cocoa mixture over it. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth, adding the vanilla and more confectioners’ sugar to make the frosting spreadable but also easy to pour from the pan. If desired, fold the pecans into the frosting before spreading it onto the cake. Or frost the cake, and top with the pecans. Let cool for 20 minutes, then slice and serve.

Makes: 16 servings 

About this recipe

In 1886 Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton was looking for new sources of income and created a pharmaceutical tonic. This was not only a time when pharmacists were the ones to invent new drugs and tonics, but it was also when the Temperance movement shunned alcohol consumption. Hanging out at a soda fountain sipping a soft drink was preferable to spending time at the saloon. Pemberton created the formula for Coke but would die long before Coke became “the Real Thing,” and even before it was bottled. Asa Candler stepped in, bought the company, and marketed Coca-Cola with modern- day savvy, handing out coupons and placing the well-known logo on merchandise. Coke developed a strong Southern identity and was called the “Champagne of the South.” And as Coke’s popularity spread throughout the country, it wasn’t long before cooks added it to recipes. A Coca-Cola chocolate spice cake was first mentioned in 1959 in Galveston, Texas. By 1967 Coca-Cola cake recipes appeared in local Arkansas and Oklahoma newspapers. Nell Amburn writes in the Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas, on July 20, 1967, “We have made cakes with soup and with Jell-O—why not make one with Coca-Cola?” This cake, based on a classic Texas sheet (sheath) cake recipe of cocoa, buttermilk, and the poured fudge frosting, is adapted from an Atlanta Junior League recipe. 

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Ingredients

Cake
  • butter and flour for prepping the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) lightly salted butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coca-cola
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) lightly salted butter
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons Coca-cola
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (see Cake Note)
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